Monday, May 07, 2007

Rangers Iced!

We'll have more on this in the coming days, but as most of you know it's all over for the New York Rangers, losers yesterday to the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. The Rangers were ousted in six games, but really it was over Friday night. When Buffalo tied the game with 7.7 seconds remaining, I just never thought New York had a chance after that. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist played brilliantly, but the failure of the Rangers to get the correct guys on the ice in the closing minute, cost them the game. I'm sure that Head Coach Tom Renney learned a great deal from this series as he did from last year's matchup with the New Jersey Devils. Buffalo had pulled their goalie, Ryan Miller for an extra skater, but the Rangers were unable to get their more defensive-minded players on the ice. The flurry of activity around the Rangers' net was too much to withstand, thus leading to the tying Chris Drury goal.

I also wonder why Nigel Dawes somehow was unable to get in a game in November, but Renney was able to find a role for him in an elimination playoff game yesterday? Nonetheless, that's not why the Rangers lost. Buffalo Coach Lindy Ruff told the media after the fourth game that his team needed to do "a little extra." That is what the Rangers did not do in the final two games of the series. Sean Avery, who made the ridiculous comments before the series that he was "going to hurt Buffalo," was great killing penalties, but largely invisible during the series. The Rangers most active line was their third line consisting of Matt Cullen, Ryan Callahan, and Petr Prucha. The Rangers just couldn't get an edge on Buffalo. When the Blueshirts would score; the Sabres would answer right back. If Buffalo took a penalty, the Rangers would remain pedestrian with the man advantage, except for Jaromir Jagr.

I'm quite interested to see what the Rangers' management plans to do this summer. Free agents that are of the unrestricted kind include Brendan Shanahan, Michal Nylander, and Kevin Weekes.

Kevin Weekes is the easiest one, don't sign him. He's an admirable backup but Lundqvist needs to play a lot of games to be effective, and that type of roll does not suit Weekes.

Nylander a good friend of Jaromir Jagr will most certainly be back. Shanahan, however, is another question. Does he want to come back? He certainly looked a step slow during the playoffs and my question is was it because of the time missed recovering from a concussion or is age catching up with Shanny.

In the end, Buffalo was the better team during the regular season (by only two points in the second half) and in the playoffs. I've got a few thoughts on the Rangers' future in the coming days and on the playoffs generally. However, expect to see more politics, news, frivolity, laughs, giggles, etc. in this space than sports for a while, Friday night's loss was a bummer!


Rob Adams said...

I was hoping that this playoff run was going to be a blast, but it never materialized. Certainly an Eastern Conference appearance would have helped, but the TV situation (and even possibly the radio situation) just killed the area from catching a little Blueshirt fever.

Even JT would have caught some Blues*it...ah Bluefish...oh, whatever fever!

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

You're right if they had made it to the Eastern Conference Finals it would have generated more juice. To add to your point about the radio I think it is also ironic that ESPN Radio does not have a great signal in White Plains.